9 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Pointe-à-Pitre
Pointe-à-Pitre, on the island of Grand-Terre, is the largest city and economic center of Guadeloupe, with a sheltered cruise ship port five minutes from town. Founded in the mid 1600s, this busy market town is still small enough to cross in 15 minutes. Colorful 19th-century buildings line the older streets, such as rue Achille René Boisneuf, and the focal point of the city is the Place de la Victoire, a park surrounded by old homes and restaurants. Browsing the bustling markets is one of the most popular things to do, with their tropical produce piled high, aromatic spices, and vendors dressed in flamboyant attire. Near Pointe-à-Pitre, the commune of Le Gosier, with its large marina and many tourist facilities, is a gateway for excursions to the islands of Marie-Galante and Les Saintes.
1 Place de la Victoire
A large park dotted with poinciana trees and royal palms, Place de la Victoire is a great place to take a break on a hot day or start a walking tour of the city. You can stroll past the charming old homes along the Rue de Comdt Mortenal on the east side and relax at the sidewalk cafes lining Rue Bébion on the west side of the park.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Pointe-a-Pitre
2 Mémorial ACTe
Opened in 2015, Mémorial ACTe is a new museum that traces the history of slavery, not just in Guadeloupe and the Caribbean but around the world, through a series of poignant and thought-provoking exhibits. The museum occupies a former sugar factory on the waterfront, a distinctive box-shaped complex topped by a tangled web of silver latticework. Audio-guides in the language of your choice take you on a thematically-arranged somber journey through the history of the slave trade, with interactive exhibits, artifacts, artwork, and audio-visual testimonials along the way. Restaurants, shops, and genealogical research areas are also on-site.
Address: Darboussier, Rue Raspail, Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe
3 Markets and Shopping Streets
The bustling markets of Pointe-à-Pitre exude all the culture and color of this French-flavored town. Tropical fruits, fragrant spices, local crafts, and brightly-hued flowers are a sensory feast at the harborside market along La Darse, the inner harbor road. Fishing boats tie up here to sell their catch, and you can also check out other markets such as Saint-Antoine. If you're looking for more upscale items, shopping hot spots include the Center Saint-John Perse and the boutiques and jewelry shops of Frébault, Nozières, and Schoelcher Streets.
4 Museum Saint John Perse
The Museum Saint John Perse (Musée Municipal Saint-John Perse) honors the island's renowned poet and Nobel Laureate, who was also known as Alexis Saint-Léger. The museum is housed in a carefully restored two-story colonial house dating from the 19th century. On the ground floor, you can explore an authentic period Creole residence, while the top floor contains exhibits on the poet's life, a library, and videotheque. The poet's house of birth is nearby at 54 Rue de Nozières.
Address: 9 Nozières Street, Pointe-à-Pitre
5 Cathédrale de St.-Pierre et St.-Paul
The Cathédrale de St. Pierre et St. Paul in Pointe-à-Pitre is one of the city's most distinctive landmarks. Nicknamed "the Iron Cathedral," it features arches constructed of riveted iron girders to protect it from hurricanes and earthquakes, which have inflicted much damage in the past. The best time to visit the cathedral is on a Sunday during a church service.
Address: Rue du Général Ruillier, Pointe-a-Pitre
6 Le Gosier
A commune of Pointe-a-Pitre, Le Gosier is a picturesque seaside town with a large marina, tourist accommodations, and many shops. Boats to Marie-Galante and Les Saintes leave from here. Nearby, at Fort Fleur d'Epé lie the ruins of a French garrison built in 1759 to guard against English raids. Photographers will enjoy the flowering trees, rusting cannons, and views out to sea.
From Le Gosier, you can take a boat to Isle of Gosier, a small island just offshore with a beach and old lighthouse.
7 Aquarium de la Guadeloupe
Rated among the best French aquariums, Aquarium de la Guadeloupe in Gosier showcases the region's rich marine life. The museum is about 11-minutes by car from Pointe-à-Pitre. More than 60 species of tropical fish, as well as sharks and turtles, are contained in numerous ponds. The snorkeling tours are popular with children and adults alike.
Address: Place Creole, La Marina, Gosier
8 Museum Schoelcher
The Museum Schoelcher is dedicated to the life and works of Victor Schoelcher, a major activist who helped abolish slavery in Guadeloupe. Housed in a beautiful colonial building, the museum displays exhibits and artifacts of the slave trade as well as works of art belonging to Monsieur Schoelcher.
Address: 24 Rue Peynier, Pointe-a-Pitre
9 Fête des Cuisinières
Fête des Cuisinières or Festival of the Women Cooks is an annual event held in August. During this time, women dress in colorful costume, and celebrations take place throughout the day and into the evening with entertainment, dancing, and food. Tickets sell out almost instantly for the festival's five-hour feast, which many consider is some of the best Creole cuisine in the Caribbean.
More Beautiful Island Destinations in the Eastern Caribbean
Guadeloupe sits in the middle of a chain of other popular islands in the Eastern Caribbean. To the south lie Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia, and Barbados, with pretty palm-lined beaches and excellent opportunities for hiking, while even farther south, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada offer a beguiling taste of the Old Caribbean. To the northwest, lie the islands of Montserrat, St. Eustatius, St. Barts, and Anguilla, and to the north, Antigua and Barbuda boast some of the Caribbean's best beaches. If you want to find out the top places to stay in the Caribbean, where everything is included, see our article on the most luxurious all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean, and for ideas on other beach-bound getaways, check out our page on the best tropical vacations.